Andrea Mitchell: What Are Republicans Really ‘Up to’ With Clinton?

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday trotted out conspiracy theories in relation to the Benghazi investigation and Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy brought up the Benghazi Select Committee and its impact on Clinton's polling numbers. 

Mitchell introduced video of that with words from the Clinton campaign saying the McCarthy’s remarks are damning proof that the investigation is a sham. The Andrea Mitchell Reports anchor then interviewed Senator Claire McCaskill, asking, “Was this a case of him actually explaining what the Benghazi Committee is up to?” McCaskill went on to speculate this a tax-funded hit-job on the Democratic candidate.

This isn’t the first time Andrea Mitchell has worried about a hit-job on Secretary Clinton. She felt that it was worth asking a question to Chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee, Trey Gowdy, on August 12th. In that interview, Andrea Mitchell asked, “What do you say to those in her corner who say she's answered all these questions Benghazi and that this is a political motivated witch hunt?” 

Following McCaskill, a Clinton supporter, Mitchell had liberal journalistsRuth Marcus and Sam Stein come on to evaluate the status of the situation. While the MSNBC anchor pointed out the email scandal as a self-inflicted wound for Hillary, she fretted to Sam Stein, “How does Hillary Clinton ever get out from under this?”

See the relevant transcript below:


Andrea Mitchell Reports
September 30, 2015

ANDREA MITCHELL: Today the Clinton campaign is pouncing on a damming display from House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy. The man expected to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House. Mccarthy seemed to pull back the curtain on the motives of the Benghazi Committee investigating Clinton and her e-mails suggesting that it was accomplishing a political purpose.

MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN McCARTHY: Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not thought that something --

MITCHELL: Missouri senator Claire McCaskill is a Hillary Clinton supporter, of course, and joins me now. Senator, this is just happening because he was on Fox News. Was this a case of him actually explaining what the Benghazi Committee is up to?

SENATOR CLAIRE McCASKILL: Yeah, it was a startling admission by the speaker in waiting. I think he forgot that, just because you're on Fox News, doesn't mean that the rest of the country's not going to hear about it. And what he really did, Andrea, is lay out for the American people that this is a tax-payer funded political hit-job, and the most disgusting thing about it is that it's being done on the desks of four brave Americans. And I think people should be outraged that this is now out in the open. We all believe that's what this was. They are not even going to finish their work, they say, until next year. Now what are they doing next year? Could it be we are electing a president next year? This is outrageous and I hope many people are upset as many of us are.

MITCHELL: Now, I did ask the chair of that committee who is considered to become majority leader about a possible political motivation. This is back on August 12th. And he did push back hard on all of this speculation.

[Interview with Congressman Trey Gowdy]

MITCHELL: What do you say to those in her corner who say she's answered all these questions Benghazi and that this is a political motivated witch hunt?

CONGRESSMAN TREY GOWDY: Well, I have about six pages of questions that are exclusively related to Benghazi. I don't think it's asking too much that she do what she says she's going to do. Which is come before Congress and answer all the questions that we have with respect to the security profile, dependency of the attacks and the administration's response in the aftermath. And ultimately it will be you and my fellow citizens to judge whether our questions are fair and appropriate.

[Back to Live interview with Senator Claire McCaskill]

MITCHELL: That hearing is going to take place on October 22nd. Hillary Clinton said she's looking forward to it. But Senator McCaskill, even the most fervent Clinton supporters would have to say what a lot of Clinton supporters are saying privately, that they have not handled this well. She herself has said they have not handled it well. And you're gonna have a drip, drip, drip as she said to chuck Todd on "Meet the press" because there are going to be releases court ordered from the state department of more e-mails later today, then the next month and next month and the month all the way up until the first primaries and caucuses.

McCASKILL: Well, political hit jobs are, by the very definition, drip, drip, drip. You're political opponents want to try to make you look bad every single day. But enough is enough, Andrea. Every single e-mail she sent or received did not have classified material in it at the time she sent or received it. The policy was allowed by the state department. No one has given out more personal information or e-mails than Hillary Clinton under the same circumstances. And frankly, it is outrageous that we are not spending more time talking about the things that Hillary Clinton wants to champion. Increasing the minimum wage, making student loans affordable...

MITCHELL: Senator, with all due respect, isn't this a self-inflicted wound? It was a mistake. She acknowledges that. She should have had a government and a private system. She was doing national security communications, whether classified or not, at the time. On a private system that could be hacked with a server in her basement. And she's made herself vulnerable to these attacks.

McCASKILL: That's why I give her credit for acknowledging she should have done it differently. But look at the proportionality here. This is the amount of time that is being spent on an issue where she is being incredibly transparent and forthcoming. And by the way, somewhat sarcastically as an aside, her server was the only one that was not hacked by the Chinese. So this notion that somehow she was doing this to jeopardize security of our country or that her motives were somehow not to do the best job she could for the United States of America, is just hogwash. And it's time to begin to focus on the things that Americans are worrying about around their kitchen table. How can we afford college? How can we retire and still pay our health care bills? These are the things that Hillary Clinton is providing substantive policy. And eventually, I know the American people are going to want everybody to start talking about that.

[Later in broadcast]

ANDREA MITCHELL: Joining me now for "The Daily Fix," Ruth Marcus and Huffington post political editor Sam Stein. Ruth Marcus, first to you, where do we stand? The e-mails come out later today. Each time this comes, it is a setback for her efforts to talk about policy.

RUTH MARCUS: Well, I think it's a self-inflicted wound and it's also a wound that Republicans are very happy to help her inflict on herself. And, you know, I'm reminded of Michael Kingsley's famous definition of a gaffe in Washington, saying the truth out loud. Shocked that the Benghazi committee might have had something to do with politics and the political aspirations of the former Secretary of State, but dumb thing to say. I actually share Senator McCaskill's desire to talk a little bit about some substance in this campaign, because there's a lot of substantive things to talk about, but it's getting, it's really hard to stop talking about e-mails when facts keep emerging and e-mails keep getting released.

MITCHELL: And Sam stein, how does Hillary Clinton ever get out from under this? And what are you hearing about Joe Biden?

SAM STEIN: Well, Kevin McCarthy helps Hillary Clinton get out from underneath this. Obviously, behind closed doors and increasingly public, Democrats have been arguing that the Benghazi committee was politically motivated. When you have the likely incoming house speaker admit as much, it gives you an interesting and effective pivot, I think. And the October 22nd hearing in front of the committee that Clinton will have, the campaign has long viewed that as something that will help her clear this hurdle, maybe move on to more the policy topics and specifics.

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